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Why a big Eagle is 'puffing his chest out'

Dees not soft, Cotch's new deal Nat Edwards with the latest news

LEAD ruckman Scott Lycett is growing in confidence and West Coast's midfielders will back both their big men to take the fight to Melbourne giant Max Gawn in Sunday's blockbuster, Eagles star Elliot Yeo says.

Gawn has been dominant in 2018, winning 62 per cent of hit-outs and tapping more than a third to a teammate's advantage.

The 208cm Demon has powered the best centre clearance and highest-scoring team in the League, and holds a key to a finals-shaping bout.  

But Yeo, who has attended more centre bounces than any other Eagle, denied West Coast's onballers would immediately go onto the defensive to nullify Gawn's influence.  

"I don't think you have to change what you're doing normally, you just have to be more aware of it," Yeo told AFL.com.au.

"If he starts to get on top or something like that you can change a couple of things around.

"I think it's more being confident and backing in your own system, but being aware of their strengths as well."

West Coast has only been beaten in hit-outs once in four games since Lycett and Nathan Vardy teamed up after Nic Naitanui (knee) went down.

That round 19 contest against North Melbourne in Hobart was also the only time the Eagles have been beaten in clearances, with experienced big man Todd Goldstein having a significant impact. 

But the West Coast duo competed with Port Adelaide gun Paddy Ryder last round, before taking control when he went down with a hip injury.

They eventually dominated the taps 59-19 – with Lycett getting his hand to a career-high 40 hit-outs.  

"I think Scotty is puffing his chest out a little bit, which is great," Yeo said.  

"If he can continue to bring that confidence and play like he did on the weekend it gives us mids confidence that he's eager to win the fight.

"I think Scotty can take it up to (Gawn). He took it up to an All Australian ruckman in Ryder." 

While Lycett's future continues to be the subject of intense speculation, Yeo praised the in-demand big man – who is on St Kilda and Port's radars – for getting on with the job.

"He's a bit like Gaffy (Andrew Gaff) with the whole contract situation, but for right now he's giving 110 per cent and we can't ask for anything more," he said.

After Gaff's eight-game suspension and a week of public pressure, West Coast responded with an after-the-siren victory over the Power.

But Yeo denied the tumultuous period was used as motivation by the Eagles, who now need one win from the final two rounds to sew up a top-two finish.

"You can't get too caught up in external factors or it will come back to get you," Yeo said.  

"How we played on the weekend showed we can park what's going on on the outside and play some good football. 

"I think it's us against ourselves at the moment. We've only got ourselves to blame if we drop a game."